As an employment law attorney, I run into this question quite often, and the short answer is “yes.” Like all short answers, however, there are a number of variables which can alter this preliminary response. For instance, a number of class action lawsuits have been recently filed against employers who run background credit checks on potential employees. These lawsuits are based upon the same general grounds; namely, that an employer ran credit checks without following the guidelines laid out in the Fair Credit Reporting Act (“FCRA”).
The FCRA allows employers to run credit background checks on potential new employees, and it allows employers to use the information in a credit report to consider a potential and/or current employee for retention, promotion, reassignment, or hire. The FCRA, however, does provide strict guidelines within which employers must operate in order to lawfully use such information.
Generally, to comply with the FCRA, an employer seeking an investigative consumer background report on its employees or applicants must: (1) make a clear and accurate written disclosure to the employee/applicant of its intent to obtain the investigative consumer report; (2) obtain express authorization from the employee/applicant to obtain the investigative consumer report; (3) give the employee/applicant a pre-adverse action notice if the employer plans to take an adverse action against the employee/applicant based on the information contained in the investigative consumer report; and (4) provide the employee/applicant with an adverse action notice after taking the adverse action.
Among other requirements, effective January 1, 2013, the FCRA requires that the employer provide an updated “A Summary of Your Rights Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act” to employees/applicants when an employer provides the pre-adverse action notice. A copy of the suggested Summary of Rights Under the FCRA can be obtained online.
If you have lost an opportunity for potential employment based upon information contained in your credit report, and you have reason to believe the general guidelines outlined above were not followed by your potential employer, feel free to contact one of the employment law attorneys at The Spitz Law Firm, LLC for a free consultation.
If you even think that your employment rights have been violated or that you might need an employment lawyer, then call the right attorney to schedule a free and confidential consultation at 866-797-6040. The Spitz Law Firm is dedicated to protecting employees’ rights and solving employment disputes.
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